Many of the famous wine regions of Europe are planted around great rivers. The Gironde in Bordeaux, the Tain in the Rhone Valley and the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in Germany. In Australia, we have the Murray River. Set on the banks of the majestic Murray, the Oxford Landing vineyard is named after a nearby site where drovers once grazed and watered sheep. Today it’s home to a loyal flock of down-to-earth folk who take great pride in making quality wines, enjoyed the world over.
Over the last decade, Oxford Landing has tripled in size with the creation of a beautiful native forest adjacent to the vineyard. Water is also very important to us. While we are reliant on the Murray River, we’re never complacent about irrigation methods. It’s all about sustainable winemaking.
In the late 1800’s the Murray River was a thriving trade highway. Commercial paddle steamers made their way up and down the river transporting goods such as wheat, wool and household supplies. One such paddle steamer met with an untimely end when a fire aboard forced the vessel ashore where it was reduced to ashes. Among the wreckage strewn on the riverbank was a singed sign carrying the name of the boat – ‘The City of Oxford’. From that time on, this area was known as Oxford Landing. In 1958, South Australian entrepreneur and winemaking visionary Wyndham Hill Smith took a spade and sank it into the riverside dirt. He believed this place of fertile red soil and bountiful sunshine would be ideal for growing premium grape varieties, and Oxford Landing Estates was born.
With 650 acres under vine, we could never call Oxford Landing small but we act like we are. We micro-manage 130 five-acre blocks as separate ecosystems so we become intimately familiar with each block and can give the grapes exactly what they need to achieve optimum flavour. ‘Small vineyard’ techniques such as detailed pruning, canopy management and crop thinning give us ultimate control in expressing the individuality of each block. And we are nimble enough to harvest small batches of the fruit as soon as it ripens, so not an ounce of freshness is lost.
The ‘small scale’ approach continues in the winery with methods usually reserved for boutique winemaking. These include using wild ferments native to the vineyard and back-blending with barrel-aged wines. Minimal handling of the juice also means less chance for error or contamination, so the fruit is processed gently yet quickly. Thinking small does make a lot more work for us, but we take pride in working hard to craft quality wine.
Every one of our wines is bottled at our winery in Australia. By nurturing the wine every step along the journey from bunch to bottle we can guarantee the authenticity, provenance, quality and consistency of every wine, every day. We put our heart and soul into every bottle of wine we make so there’s no way we would entertain the variances and vagaries of bulk shipping and offshore bottling.